The last time you ate dinner with your family was a hard experience. It wasn’t because your family was having a difficult time getting along. The issue was the noise, which was making it hard to hear anything. So you didn’t get the details about Judy’s promotion, and you didn’t have an opportunity to ask about Todd’s new puppy. It was irritating. You feel like the room’s acoustics played a big part. But you’re also willing to accept that your hearing might be starting to wane.
It can be incredibly challenging to self-diagnose hearing loss (that’s why, generally, it’s not recommended). But you should pay attention to some early warning signs. If some of these warning signs appear, it’s probably time to have your hearing tested.
Hearing Loss Has Some Early Warning Signs
Several of the indications of hearing loss are subtle. But you could be dealing with some degree of hearing loss if you find yourself recognizing some of these signs.
Here are a few of the warning signs of hearing loss:
- You find it’s hard to comprehend certain words. This warning sign often pops up because consonants are beginning to sound similar, or, at least, becoming difficult to differentiate. Usually, it’s the sh- and th- sounds that are muffled. It can also often be the p- and t- sounds or the s- and f- sounds
- There’s a ringing in your ears: Ringing in your ears is known as tinnitus (and, technically, tinnitus can be other sounds too: thumping, buzzing, screeching, humming, and so on). Tinnitus is often an early warning sign of hearing loss, but not always so if your ears are ringing, a hearing test is probably in order.
- You have a difficult time following conversations in a noisy or crowded place. In the “family dinner” example above, this exact thing happened and it’s definitely an early warning sign.
- Phone calls suddenly seem muffled and hard to comprehend: Nowadays, due to texting, we use the phone much less than we once did. But if you’re having difficulty understanding the phone calls you do get (even with the volume turned all the way up), you might be dealing with another red flag for your hearing.
- High pitched sounds are difficult to hear. Things like a whistling teapot or ringing doorbell frequently go undetected for several minutes or more. Early hearing loss is normally most recognizable in specific (and often high-pitched) frequencies of sound.
It’s Time to Get a Hearing Exam
You still can’t be certain whether you’re dealing with hearing loss even if you are encountering some of these early warning signs. You will need to get a hearing test to know for sure.
You may very well be going through some level of hearing loss even if you’re only experiencing one of these early warning signs. A hearing assessment will be able to tell what level of impairment, if any, is present. Then it will become more evident what has to be done about it.
This means your next family gathering can be far more enjoyable.